During one of my first Ramadhan’s in Dubai, when I had none of my recipes with me, I went online to find anything that would make it feel more like Ramadhan at home.
With some assistance from sheikh Google I came upon the website of a Cape Town cooking instructor that had a recipe for Buttermilk bollas. You can find the original recipe here.
From the very first batch that I fried off, I knew this was the perfect bolla recipe. The texture is light and airy and the bollas are perfectly rounded every time. As I am wont to do, the recipe has been adapted to my own style of baking and the method varies slightly from the original.
The original recipe says to let the dough stand for at least 30 minutes before frying. I do not like the texture when it is left that long and would recommend that it be fried within 10 minutes.
For this version I have halved the original recipe, decreased the vanilla extract and added fine cardamom to the dough mixture. It tastes perfectly delicious with one teaspoon of vanilla extract, if you do not like cardamom.
I have added saffron and orange blossom water to the syrup and sprinkled it with ground pistachios for color and texture. If you don’t have any of these, don’t fret, the syrup is fine with only the lemon juice and you may use fine coconut for sprinkling.
My Cardamom bollas with saffron syrup and orange blossom water is the perfect light doughnut to break the fast or have as a sweet treat with afternoon tea.
How to fry
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- 280 grams cake or fine sponge flour (approximately 2 cups or 500 ml)
- 10 ml baking powder (approximately 2 teaspoons)
- 5 ml fine cardamom (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 1ml salt
- 67.5 grams fine granulated sugar (92.5 ml)
- 1 egg
- 92.5 ml oil (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
- 250 ml buttermilk (approximately 1 cup)
- 5 ml vanilla extract
- Oil for deep frying (should be at least 5 cm deep)
- 125 ml sliced pistachios ground or finely chopped
- Syrup: 625 ml fine granulated sugar (2.5 cups)
- 500 ml water (2 cups)
- 10 stamens saffron
- 5ml orange blossom water
- 15ml fresh lemon juice
- 5 ml butter
- Sift the flour, cardamom and baking powder together in a bowl with the salt and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until it has doubled in volume and the color has turned pale yellow.
- Add the oil and vanilla and whisk again to combine.
- Add the buttermilk and whisk again for a minute.
- Add the sifted flour and mix into a sticky dough. If your buttermilk container was larger than 250ml DO NOT add the rest of it to the dough as it makes it runny and prone to spilling out of itself when frying.
- Fry a tablespoon full in moderately hot oil until golden and cooked through. Adjust the heat if required to ensure that the bollas are not browned too quickly and undercooked. If the oil is too cold it will soak it up like a sponge. Do not crowd the frying space.
- For the syrup boil all the ingredients together until the syrup starts to bubble, about 15-20 minutes. If it is too thin it will be watery and soak into the bolla instead of forming a glossy cover.
Alternatively you may use plain drinking yogurt or laban that has a similar consistency as buttermilk.